There is a certain romance in acquainting yourself with your car on a long open road enveloped in experiences of endless sights to behold, quirky people to meet, and adventures to embark on. Whether it’s your beloved ‘hunk of junk’ that you will drive into the ground or a new favourite in which you have yet to settle your bottom’s imprint, these road trips are classic bonding experiences.
Envision yourself taking a West Coast road trip with the Summer glare and open skies hovering over fynbos and sandy beaches. Grasping fervently onto the steering wheel as you get familiar with the car’s steering ratio, the location of the gears, the sensitivity of the clutch and brakes, the recline of the seat, and the position of the mirrors. It’s okay to give yourself a quick look and flirty wink to remind yourself how snazzy you look in your car, as long as you remember to readjust the mirrors.
We take a look at the marvels of the West Coast and inform you of all the interesting stops and beautiful sights one can expect to find on these road trips. We’d advise you to get comfortable as you take this short journey with us. Buckle up, safety check, and let’s put the pedal to the metal.
Have we missed any of your favourite spots? Let us know in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Where: Cnr of Lionel Solomons and Tygerberg Valley Rd, Richwood, Cape Town
When: Mon – Fri: 8am – 5pm | Sat: 9am – 1pm
The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve sits on Blouberg Hill and stretches out down to the soft sandy coastline. With a beautiful view of the World Heritage Site, Robben Island, Blaauwberg Nature Reserve offers beauty and nature as far as the eye can see.
The biodiversity embraces a wetland, 624 plant species, 40 mammals, including whales, dolphins and seals, 166 bird species, 30 reptiles and four amphibians. It is the only City nature reserve where you can still find the white-tailed mouse, the ant bear or aardvark and a bird known as Layard’s titbabbler. Evidence of early human occupation has also been found in this area.
If you feel like spending an evening on the premises, the reserve has a Montispectus self-catering unit. The unit is generally hired out for families or friends on a weekend getaway.
Where: Eerste Steen Resort, Otto du Plessis Dr, Bloubergstrand
When: May – Oct: 8am – 5pm | Nov – Apr: 8am – 7pm
The Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve is 500 hectares of a soft and sandy nature reserve. This flora and fauna-rich landscape houses critically endangered fynbos, but also boasts an abundance of wildlife and critters. These are animals as small as molerats, mongoose and caracals, to animals as large as Steenbok and Cape Grysbok.
The name of Witzands Aquifer comes from the fact that underneath all the white dunes lies a vast underground natural aquifer that supplies drinking water to all the surrounding communities. However, the reserve is mainly famous for the Atlantis Dunes.
Atlantis Dunes offers adventurous experiences through 4×4 drives, ATV quad biking, Ultimate Sandboarding, and even a chance for photoshoots in the vast open white sand. If visitors aren’t feeling up for the challenge, Atlantis Dunes can transport them into the dunes with the many 4×4 vehicles available to appreciate the top view.
Walk-ins are free. However, there is a fee for cars, bikes or sand boarders.
Where: 0 Dassenberg Dr, Atlantis, Cape Town
When: Daily 9am – 5pm
Situated in what can best be described as Cape Town’s countryside mixed with large lands of vineyards, Darling is an aptly named town fully submerged in culture, history and beauty.
This town is best known for the vast fields of beautiful flowers during flower season and its famous brewery, The Darling Brewery. Seeing as this is a road trip article, we won’t entice you with the brewery too much, however, it definitely is worth a visit, even if it is for the meals.
In the centre of the town lies the quaint museum which will grant visitors a sneak peek at what the town used to look like. The museum also dedicates a section to educating visitors on how they placed themselves on the map with the Darling butter and creamery.
Full of interesting shops, restaurants, toffee makers, and even a cheese café, Darling is also home to the renowned works of Pieter Dirk Uys and Evita se Perron Theatre. With so many attractions in one beautiful town, we highly recommend the drive out.
Where: 22 Pastorie St, Darling, 7345
Yzterfontein is a seaside village with the makings of what you’d expect to see in a movie. A quaint and precious town where wildlife roams free, from land and sky to water, these critters live their best life among the indigenous plants.
The town has many different quirky shops and restaurants to entertain travellers. From the offramp’s West Coast Farmstall with a large children’s play area, all the way to the bakery in the town’s centre, there are many options to choose from.
One such restaurant is the illustrious Strandkombuis. Known as a rustic diamond, this restaurant is perfectly placed on the longest beach in South Africa. The beach stretches over 25 kilometres and connects Yzerfontien with the West Coast National Park. It truly is something to behold. Whether you stay over at the accommodation on offer or simply enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant, Strandkombuis is the prime base for your adventures in Yzerfontein. It is worth noting that the restaurant only caters for bookings and opens on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.
In the Yzerfontein region, one can also enjoy fishing and hiking, and if coincidentally you visit in the right season, whale watching is a must. Another activity we recommend, if time is of no issue, is taking a quick trip out to Dassen Island to experience the African Penguin in its natural habitat, thanks to the nature reserve.
Where: 16 Mile Beach, Strandkombuis Rd, Yzerfontein
When: Always Open | Restaurant from Fri: 6pm | Sun: 12pm
Amidst the two towns of Langebaan and Yzerfontein on your West Coast road trip, lies the focal point known as the West Coast National Park. It’s an area where the cerulean waters of the Langebaan Lagoon and the bright flowers of the surrounding fynbos create a landscape that will leave visitors at a loss for words.
The Park offers walking trails, bird-watching areas, picnic, and braai areas, and a safe spot on the Tsaarsbank to enjoy a bit of whale watching in August and September. However, for adventure seekers, there are mountain bike and cycling routes, kayaking and kite-boarding, and an additional hiking trail that is a little more strenuous than the average walking trail. So, prepare well for your hikes.
The Langebaan Lagoon supports dense populations of molluscs and crustaceans. It also serves as a nursery for the development of juvenile fish. Therefore, we highly recommend the West Coast National Park as a travel destination for lovers of marine life.
Where: West Coast DC
When: Sep – Mar: 7am – 7pm | Apr – Aug: 7am – 6pm
A little ways up from the West Coast Nature Reserve you can find the lovely town known as Langebaan. If you’re a fan of sunshine and perfect temperature, then this is the town for you. To advertise this perfect weather Langebaan has designed a little piece of Greek heaven. We’re referring to the Mykonos Retreat, Club Mykonos.
This resort has an incredible variety of things to do, see, and experience, all under the same roof as the accommodation and casino. From adventurous water sports to acrobatic climbing facilities sweetly rounded off with lazy afternoons spent around the waters, Mykonos Resort is paradise incarnate. If you don’t believe us. See here for more of these activities on offer.
Enjoy delicious meals and drinks with views of the boats and yachts romantically setting the scene on the waters at any of their numerous restaurants. One such worth a mention is the ever-popular Boesmanland Farmkitchen. Essentially, this restaurant is an informal eating experience where guests sit outside with a view of the open fire that cooks their meals. These meals vary from seafood, Boerekos and African cuisines. See here for more about the restaurant.
If you’ve had your fair share of Grecian paradise, then inland has a special treat for you. With A quick trip back into the mainland, you can find Thali Thali Game Reserve, a lush fynbos reserve with wildlife ranging from buffalos, zebras and giraffes to numerous species of antelope. The reserve offers entertaining activities with game drives, archery lessons and classic sundowners on their restaurant’s deck. See here for more.
Where: Mykonos Access Rd, Mykonos, Langebaan, 7357
When: Always Open
After an exciting amount of sightseeing and eventful adventures on your West Coast road trip, there is one town that is perfect for that quiet and peaceful stop. The isolated village Jacobs Bay, frequently called the ‘Namaqualand by die see’, has several different bays on its 2km of seafront.
Because of the tranquillity and peaceful lifestyle that envelopes the village, the wildlife surrounding Jacobs Bay is prevalent. The village houses interesting animals such as jackals, steenbok, duikers and many small little tortoises.
A quick turn off the main road of Jacobs Bay and you could find the quirky sightseeing gem, The Pixie and Fairy Village. The founder, Mama Pixie and her brother, George, grew up on a farm called ‘Mpanza’ in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. There she spent her days as a young girl roaming around the forests searching for mythical fairies from the traditional Zulu folklore. As an adult, her fascination remained and encouraged her to create the popular attraction, The Pixie and Fairy Village. Artists that contributed to the creation of the attraction and artworks are Clifford Nooi, Dickson Andrew, Marcell Schoeman (Maximillan), and Gerrie Maritz.
Regarding restaurant experiences in Jacobs Bay, there are few options due to the seclusion and isolation of the village. For a café experience we recommend House of Bean and Leaf, and for delicious seafood and a fantastic view, Weskusplek is the prime spot. West Coast Street Food is also popular among the locals of the village.
Where: Plot 307, Main Rd, Jacobs Bay
When: Daily: 9am – 5pm
Paternoster is considered one of the oldest villages on the West Coast. The streets are quiet, but the pavements are bustling and full of locals selling freshly caught fish from the daily catch.
In the back pocket of this village lies the Paternoster Waterfront. This is basically where all the cool kids hang out. With venues like the Waffle Wharf, Rock Lobster Pub, Maneki Home Goods, Mattat Leather Goods, and the antique store, the Waterfront is the social hub of the town.
Amongst the shops of the waterfront resides a venue that serves as a theatre and art gallery known as, Die Koelkamers Teater. The theatre focuses its space on offering a platform where creatives, performing artists, photographers, writers and musicians big and small can showcase their work to the locals of the entire West Coast.
Paternoster is also well-known for its snorkelling spots with clear blue waters. Above the water, you would find many kayaks or small fishing boats as the aforementioned waters grant beautiful outings. On windy days you’ll be sure to catch soaring kites attached to surfers or beachgoers.
Where: 1 Kreefte St, Kliprug, Paternoster
When: Mon – Sat: 9am – 10pm | Sun: 9am – 4pm